#42: Brighton 1-3 Watford 29/12/2012

#42 BRIGHTON 1-3 WATFORD Championship
Saturday 29th December 2012 Image result for

WAT Titles

PRESENTER Simon Thomas GUEST Andy Hinchcliffe
COMMENTATORS Bill Leslie & Don Goodman REPORTER Jonathan Oakes
5.20pm Kick Off; Amex Stadium     5-8pm Football League Live on Sky Sports 2

WAT Ident WAT Sponsor #42 Watford 29/12/2012

Context of the Match: Since the last televised match at home to Leeds at the start of November, Brighton’s form had dipped somewhat. Just three wins followed; against Peterborough, Huddersfield and Bristol City all in the bottom half of the table. There were very few defeats – just one in eleven – but the draws stalled the upwards momentum, with seven in the same period. Goals were at a premium too. Top scorer Craig Mackail-Smith was the difference when Brighton beat Watford at Vicarage Road earlier in the season with a penalty kick. Tonight’s opponents were managed by former Chelsea striker, and one of Gus Poyet’s good friends, Gianfranco Zola. The Italian took charge in July following the club’s takeover by Giampaolo Pozzo, owner of both Granada in Spain and Udinese of Serie A. Consequently several players were brought in on loan from those clubs to Watford, part of an incredible fourteen loanees in total. Zola’s side sat in sixth place on thirty-seven points whilst the Albion were three points behind in tenth. The Championship earned itself a ruthless reputation with two managers leaving their jobs this week alone, and another one during this match as Keith Hill was sacked by Barnsley. That brought the total to more than a third of the Division to have changed boss this season. Just three days after Christmas, who would be getting some festive cheer come full-time tonight?

WAT Brighton WAT Watford WAT Subs

The Teams: Unusually for the Christmas period, Brighton had enjoyed an eleven day break before this match as the trip to Blackburn last week was called off just a few hours before kick off due to the weather. Three changes were made from the previous outing – a two-all draw with Millwall. Bruno returned at right-back and Andrea Orlandi came in to the attack. Kazenga LuaLua scored last time out and was rewarded with his first start today since October. Up top Craig Mackail-Smith was still being heavily relied on to produce the goods, he’s this season’s top scorer with ten. The back line of Kuszczak, El-Abd, Greer and Bridge were solid and settled all season. In front of them David Lopez started on the right-wing, another part of the Spanish revolution. Brighton signed Will Buckley from Watford but he was absent today, whilst Will Hoskins spent three years with the Hornets. He was named as substitute. Gianfranco Zola’s side largely comprised loan signings, with fourteen of the squad belonging to other clubs including six who started here. Vydra, Abdi and Ekstrand were all on loan from Udinese. Nathaniel Chalobah temporarily moved across London from Chelsea. Of the players they did own, Manuel Almunia in-goal had Champions League experience with Arsenal, ‘One Size’ Fitz Hall was in the defence, whilst Jonathan Hogg linked up again with his former Aston Villa youth teammate Troy Deeney. The latter had served almost three months in prison earlier this year for his part in a brawl, returning to professional football at the end of September. Enforcing the law today was Oliver Langford.

WAT Thomas WAT Hinchcliffe WAT Studio

The Coverage & Presentation Team: First choice presenter Simon Thomas hosted coverage from the studio within The Amex North Stand offices, alongside Sky Sports pundit and regular co-commentator Andy Hinchcliffe. The former England, Sheffield Wednesday and Manchester City left-back was a familiar voice on Sky’s League coverage over the past three years, rising to second choice co-commentator behind Don Goodman in recent times. Saturday nights at 5.20pm was the regular kick-off time for the past six seasons in a bid to take viewers away from the 5.30pm Premier League game on firstly Setanta and then ESPN by starting those extra ten minutes earlier. Prior to 2007, Sky owned Live top-flight rights exclusively so, as much as possible, clashes between matches were avoided however a more aggressive tactic was adopted when competitors arrived. With today’s broadcast coming just four days after Christmas, Sky still had all their festive branding on the idents and ‘Coming Up’ graphics featuring those animated snowmen who were seen for many years. The programme came on-air at 5pm, just after the final whistles went around the country at the 3pm matches. This allowed for enough time to discuss the rest of the Division, look at the results as well as build-up to the main event kicking off twenty minutes later.

WAT Poyet v Zola WAT Duo WAT Coming Up WAT Stats

Increasingly, big name players in the 90s and early 21st Century retired and began managing in the lower Leagues. We witnessed that earlier this season when Paolo di Canio’s Swindon side knocked Brighton out of the League Cup. Today’s opposition Watford were managed by Gianfranco Zola, the former Italy and Chelsea hero. He played for the Blues when Gus Poyet was there so the pair knew each other very well. This formed the basis of the introduction, billed as Poyet v Zola. There was then a pre-recorded VT with the two managers reminiscing about their playing days before going head-to-head in a quiz about each other, in the style of ITV gameshow Mr and Mrs, with Gus the victor. Poyet’s incredible volley for Chelsea against Sunderland from the opening day of the 1999/00 season got an airing, perhaps his finest goal, aided by a wonderful flick over the defence from Zola. Poyet described him as the best player he’d ever played with.

WAT Split Screen WAT Analysis WAT Goals WAT Results

After the pre-match advert break, reporter Jonathan Oakes spoke with the two managers in the tunnel, with these being played in on a split-screen also showing the teams leaving the tunnel. The talking was done, time to hand over to the first choice commentary team of Bill Leslie and Don Goodman, with Leslie talking us through the team line-ups. During the half time break Thomas and Hinchcliffe looked through the numerous half-chances both sides had, stating the ones Watford enjoyed were more clear-cut and created the better attacks. Eighteen-year-old Chalobah in particular was singled out. Straight after the match, reporter Jonathan Oakes spoke with Man of the Match from Watford Nathaniel Chalobah and goalscorer Troy Deeney in the centre circle. Around twenty-five minutes were afforded to the post-match show after the break. This incorporated a review of the match as well as a look at some of the Championship goals from earlier today. Andy Hinchcliffe’s an excellent analyst. He explains why rather than just how something happened and he has great tactical knowledge as well as being up to speed with the entire Division. The usual interviews with the managers followed. Gus Poyet thought his side were a bit too open in the first half, tried to change it in the second in an attempt to go and win but three mistakes led to goals, going on to say Watford deserved the win. Hinchcliffe spoke of Brighton’s need for a further centre-forward to bolster the attack but pointed out that’s exactly what six or seven other clubs will be desperate for too. Recruitment would not be easy. The final ten minutes of the programme were devoted to that goals round-up and a preview of what’s to come in 2013 on Sky Sports before another slick broadcast came to an end.

WAT Kick Off WAT Comms WAT Penalty WAT Interview

Story of the Match: The rain poured down over the Sussex Downs for this Saturday teatime clash. Brighton fans were just happy to see the game go ahead after last week’s late postponement in Blackburn and the Boxing Day fixture was brought forward to the week before. Their first real chance of this match was through Andrew Crofts. Bridge and LuaLua combined on the left, the winger played a ball into the centre where Orlandi was waiting to pull the trigger. He slipped on the wet surface but behind him was Crofts who blazed over. The early stages were played mostly in the middle, with neither side going all out on the attack. The Albion enjoyed a lot of the possession but Watford looked more dangerous on the counter. Some neat one-touch passes from Chalobah, Vydra and Deeney was rounded off by a shot from Hogg, forcing Kuszczak into a save in the twenty-fifth minute. There was praise for Liam Bridcutt, from both commentators and fans alike. He often went unsung during matches but always a vital part of protecting the back-line that was so key to the Albion’s success. Just before the break, Craig Mackail-Smith ran in behind the defence on the far side of the penalty area, played the ball right across the face of goal and it took a vital interception to prevent David Lopez tapping home. In stoppage time another neat passing move between Vydra and Chalobah resulted in Kuszczak having to dive down low to his left to tip Vydra’s shot behind. And the final action of the half saw Deeney head wide from a very good central position. The warning signs were there as Watford grew into the match. Eight minutes into the second half the away side got their breakthrough. Pudil picked up the ball near the half way line and charged down the centre. He had Troy Deeney for company, the ball through needed a touch to set himself before Deeney fired under the legs of the ‘keeper and in for the fiftieth League goal of his career. Brighton needed a lifeline. They were given it with twenty-five minutes remaining when Wayne Bridge played a ball through for LuaLua which goalkeeper Almunia appeared to come and claim. However he spilt it and in the ensuing scramble defender Hoban tripped LuaLua for a penalty. Up stepped David Lopez to score his second penalty in as many games to bring Brighton level. The power and placement gave his fellow Spaniard no chance and the crowd found their voice again. It lasted just over two minutes before Watford regained the lead. Matej Vydra had been dangerous all match and he was given space to shoot from around twenty-five yards. It took a huge looping deflection off El-Abd to lob Kuszczak. And it got even worse a minute later from another counter attack. Watford cleared the ball up to Deeney waiting twenty yards inside his own half. He swiveled and played the ball on for Vydra, whose lightning pace was not matched by any Brighton defender as he left them all in his wake. He was able to dribble the ball to the edge of the box before unleashing a lethal finish in the corner to seal the match. End-to-end football at its most clinical and that’s how the scoreline finished. The Albion shouldn’t have been too disheartened by the result, Watford were excellent and particularly deadly on the break. The biggest issue was up front, where if Mackail-Smith was creating the chance or putting in the cross, there wouldn’t be anybody to finish it off. And if he didn’t score, goals weren’t forthcoming. A new striker in the January transfer window was much-needed for the Seagulls to soar up the Championship table.

WAT Table

BRIGHTON 1 WATFORD 3
Lopez Deeney, Vydra (2)

WAT Replay WAT Goal

PREVIOUS; #41 BRIGHTON 2-2 LEEDS 02/11/2012

NEXT; #43 BRIGHTON 2-0 NEWCASTLE 05/01/2013

About Mark O'MEARA
I am Mark O'MEARA.

2 Responses to #42: Brighton 1-3 Watford 29/12/2012

  1. Pingback: #41: Brighton 2-2 Leeds 02/11/2012 | Mark O'MEARA

  2. Pingback: #43: Brighton 2-0 Newcastle 05/01/2013 | Mark O'MEARA

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